My Characters Won’t Shut Up!

* Please note that the content of this post may offend some people, as a small portion of it talks about the romance/erotica novel I never meant to write.*

As regular readers may have noticed, my blogging has significantly slowed down in the past couple of weeks, not because of craziness at work (as was the problem months ago) but because there’s just too much for me to write. You see, when I get deep into the writing of a novel, inspiration starts flaring. In all directions. Before I know it, a crowd of characters are playing tug of war with my gray matter. I have problems concentrating, problems sleeping; there are so many stories and so little time!

Am I the only one who has characters in her head arguing for attention? I hope not! Either way, here are the highlights of my past few weeks of suffering, laid out for your enjoyment.

My initial plan was to work on Strings of Retaliation (very sorry I haven’t posted updates lately, keep reading to know why) at the usual about-2k-a-week pace, while focusing the bulk of my energy on The Phoenix’s Wake (my current ‘traditional publishing’ wip, I post 8 sentences every Sunday, if you’re curious). But in Strings, Lorelei did something totally unexpected that doesn’t quite fit in the scene in which she did it.

The challenge with serialized novel is that because chapters are posted, I can’t go back in time to fix stuff; I have to work with what I have. What Lorelei did tells me I failed to address something that I need to address soon, and I’ve wrecked my brain trying to find how to do it. So I decided to wait for a bit, take a step back, and see if there was a way to make that original scene work better. Hence the hold up on updates!

So all my energy went into The Phoenix’s Wake. I soon realized that this world and its characters are way too big for my brain. So I convinced myself to do what organized writers do: research a whole lot and write descriptions for characters, places and the politics/social/geographical elements impacting the story. Part of my research involved reading other urban fantasy book.

Here entered my demise.

One of the novels I read is an urban fantasy romance that just didn’t cut it for me. The relationship escalated way too quickly (despite the guy being violent towards the woman who willingly crawled in his bed, madly in love, three days later), but also, the sex scenes weren’t that great.

Yup. I wrote that. Trying to assume my potential identity as a smut writer here. More on that in a bit.

The iffy relationship sparked a sentence that’ll probably turn into a novel at some point. That was easy enough to take care of: I wrote it down in my notebook and put that idea to rest.

“Nothing screams ‘healthy couple’ like beating the crap out of each other on a weekly basis,” said no social worker ever.

So that’s that.

The bad sex, though. *sigh of annoyance* It seems to have awakened an Incubus character I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while. I tried to just write him down in my notebook; I ended up with a full book outline and ideas for book 2 in 2 hours flat (I’d like to point out that the end of Strings of Retaliation is still uncertain even if I’ve been working on it for months.) But a complete outline wasn’t enough for Dante. Noooooo.

Dante will not shut up. And neither will the characters from The Phoenix’s Wake, who are entitled to bug me because I committed myself to writing their story first. You might remember me having a similar problem with a certain pirate crew.

So I tried to buy the peace. I really did! I wanted to uphold my promise to Phoenix.

I transferred Dante’s outline in a new Scrivener project. I double-checked how the tension and heat ramped up. I even went as far as to write one of the key points of the novel, a bad sex scene turning into a hot threesome in which one of the guys doesn’t know it’s a threesome and the other guy isn’t physically present (Incubus powers, FTW).

Please laugh and tell me this is an awful idea! I never meant to write romance/erotica.

Despite all my good will, despite my derogation, Dante still pops up every now and then, delivering the perfect line of dialogue. So I open his Scrivener, type up the dialogue in the right chapter (oh yeah, ’cause I know exactly where it goes in the story too), close it, and return to Phoenix. It keeps things balanced and my focus fairly intact; characters from other projects stir every now and then, but a simple note in my notebook is enough to send them back to sleep.

The good news is that Phoenix is moving forward at a brisk pace and I should be able to meet my initial objective of a first draft by the end of the month.

*sigh of relief*

I’m not crazy. I’m a writer. You can quote me on that.

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

3 responses to “My Characters Won’t Shut Up!

  • Leaf

    My grandfather once told me there’s a very thin line between madness and genius. As I can tell first hand there’s no madness in you (except a healthy amount of crazy creativity, but that’s something else ^^), go on, show the world your little genius quirks! We can all learn from them. 😉

    Otherwise, yay for all that writing! *goes all pompomgirl on you* And I have to admit I already love Dante (the same way I love Mollusque and Frogster), so hearing more about him is making my day. 😀

    • Aheïla

      Well, this genius feels mad these day. XD

      Thanks for the pep talk, Leaf. I could send you the first couple of chapters written for Dante, but that would be a tease. But then, it IS erotica so maybe that’s par for the course. *evil writerly grin*

      Trying to get 4k a day done on Phoenix so the Incubus will just have to wait.

  • WeWriWa 8 – Dante’s Dove | The Writeaholic's Blog

    […] For the past couple of months, I’ve been posting snippets from The Phoenix’s Wake. Well, not this week! I’ve decided to share 8 sentences from the opening scene of Dante’s Dove, also known as “the romance/erotica story I never meant to write“. […]

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